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2.
Curr Opin Psychiatry ; 34(4): 344-350, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1631191

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review provides an update on recently published literature on the rise of illicit fentanyls, risks for overdose, combinations with other substances, e.g. stimulants, consequences, and treatment. RECENT FINDINGS: Overdose due to illicit synthetic opioids (e.g. fentanyl and fentanyl analogs) continues to rise in the US both preceding and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fentanyl-related overdose is rising in new geographic areas e.g. the western USA. Stimulant-related overdose is also increasing nationwide driven by methamphetamine and cocaine. Polysubstance use, e.g. the use of a stimulant along with an opioid is driving stimulant-related overdose. Other medical consequences of injection drug use are rising including HIV and hepatitis C infections. Medication approaches to treating opioid use disorder remain the standard of care and there are new promising pharmacological approaches to treating methamphetamine use disorder. SUMMARY: A 'fourth wave' of high mortality involving methamphetamine and cocaine use has been gathering force in the USA. Availability and use of illicit fentanyls are still the major drivers of overdose deaths and the current rise in stimulant-related deaths appears entwined with the ongoing opioid epidemic.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Central Nervous System Stimulants/poisoning , Cocaine-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Fentanyl/poisoning , Opiate Overdose/epidemiology , Opioid Epidemic/statistics & numerical data , Cocaine/poisoning , Comorbidity , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Humans , Illicit Drugs/poisoning , Methamphetamine/poisoning
4.
Popul Health Manag ; 24(S1): S43-S51, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1236195

ABSTRACT

The convergence of the opioid epidemic and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created new health care challenges. The authors analyzed changes in clinical drug testing patterns and results at a national clinical laboratory, comparing data obtained before and during the pandemic. Testing for prescription and illicit drugs declined rapidly during the pandemic, with weekly test volumes falling by approximately 70% from the baseline period to the trough (the week beginning March 29) before rising in subsequent weeks. Among individuals tested, positivity increased by 35% for non-prescribed fentanyl and 44% for heroin during the pandemic. Positivity for non-prescribed fentanyl increased significantly among patients positive for other drugs: by 89% for specimens positive for amphetamines; 48% for benzodiazepines; 34% for cocaine; and 39% for opiates (P < 0.01 for all comparisons). These findings suggest significant increases in dangerous drug combinations. Positivity for non-prescribed use of many other drugs remained consistent or declined for some drugs, relative to pre-pandemic patterns. Models adjusting for potential confounding variables, including medication-assisted treatment and treatment at a substance use disorder facility indicated that the risk for non-prescribed fentanyl positivity rose by more than 50% during the pandemic. In summary, these findings demonstrate decreased drug testing overall, with increased positivity for high-risk drugs and dangerous drug combinations. The convergence of the drug abuse epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased need for health care and public health resources dedicated to supporting vulnerable patients and addressing the underlying causes of these disturbing trends.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Opioid Epidemic/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders , Substance Abuse Detection/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Analgesics, Opioid/urine , Female , Fentanyl/urine , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Opioid-Related Disorders/diagnosis , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance-Related Disorders/diagnosis , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Young Adult
5.
Clin Ter ; 172(3): 209-210, 2021 May 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1218705

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: The addiction to illicit opioid and the misuse of prescription synthetic opioids pain relievers and fentanyl analogs generated an opioid epidemic in North America over the last two decades that affected public health with a constantly rising number of overdoses deaths. This health treat moved to Europe with a significant increase starting from 2015 involving mainly norther and eastern countries and finally also the Mediterranean area. The "lock down" isolation and economic recession caused by COVID-19 pandemic showed a resurgence in opioid use and harms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Opioid Epidemic/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , Europe/epidemiology , Humans , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Am J Manag Care ; 26(7): e202-e204, 2020 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-652038

ABSTRACT

Factors worsening the opioid epidemic during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic provide valuable insight for strategy change where we have historically suffered great loss, bodily and financially.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Opioid Epidemic/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Analgesics, Opioid/adverse effects , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Health Status Disparities , Humans , Opioid Epidemic/prevention & control , Pandemics , United States/epidemiology
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